Soul Shaker

by Sal Serio
December 2009

Madison's Soul Shaker

Madison's Soul Shaker

I often get asked what’s new and interesting in the Madison music scene, and these days usually the first couple words to roll off my tongue are “Soul Shaker”, a hot new ballsy bluesy rock band in town. Their calling card states “Dirty Blues Rock Fo’ Yo’ Dirty Minds” which sums it up pretty well, and somehow they already knew my mind was usually in the gutter.

The guys on the guitars and drums may look familiar if you were a fan of Trinity James And Big Bad. Guitarist Jason “JP” Peterson, bassist Scott Aumann, and drummer Brent King had backed up singer/songwriter Trinity James for a couple years before Trin moved on to the land of grueling competition Nashville. JP, Scott, and Brent kept writing on their own and eventually joined forces with singer and harmonica player Adam Zierten of Reason For Leaving and Jose And The Sumlimes fame.

JP: “The three of us (were) hammering it out old school, just the formula of straight up rock ‘n roll and blues. Once the music really started to grow and develop we realized we needed someone that also would fit in there in that soulful kind of way, more R&B and bluesy.”

Adam: “The first band I saw was the Black Crowes when I was sixteen, and given that I had played harmonica since I was ten, I thought I was going to play something more blues-rocky, and suddenly 20 years later after playing (other) music in this town and everywhere else, it came around full circle and I’m right in that pocket.”

It’s interesting that Zierten mentions the Black Crowes because when I listen to their initial recording, a 3 song demo recorded this past May at DNA Studios engineered by Mark “Whit” Whitcomb, I hear a lot of Black Crowes and also a lot of the early Paul Rodgers project Free in their music. Whit got an in-your-face organic sound out of the band on this first studio outing, and the Soul Shaker original “High Horse” has even garnered some airtime on Madison’s Triple M FM.

Brent:  “We set up totally live, running tape instead of digital, and not very much overdubbed.”

“We plan to go in after the first of the year again and start cranking them out (again).”

I commented to the guys that it’s refreshing to hear a younger, harder edged, rock band playing a lot of classic blues rock standards in their set since they cover the likes of Cream, Humble Pie, Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac, Otis Redding, Zeppelin, and the aforementioned Free. As with most bands in their initial formative months, the covers help to define what influences them and nudges them towards where they want to eventually go.

JP: “When we started doing this we noted that there is not a whole lot of bands in town that are hitting it up specifically in that pocket, and that was a market we could fill real easily. I think we fill a pretty good void, because we can bring in the jammers, and hang out with the rock guys, and most of the girls that hear it feel like there’s a reason that classic rock is classic, it’s just good music.”

Adam: “We’re old enough to know where it all came from with the blues, but we’re young enough to still want to throw that rock punch under it.”

Scott: “We just enjoy getting together and playing the type of music we’re doing. We’re trying to recreate (the era) when bands were bands.”

What Aumann is hinting at is an unpretentious attitude of playing music warts and all, going for the feeling rather than dwelling too much on ideologies or perfections. After all, rock ‘n roll should come more from the crotch than the brain. For the future Soul Shaker is looking to record a full length release in 2010, and continue to do what they do best - playing out live, and hopefully bringing the message of steadfast rock and smoking blues to new cities in the Midwest. To keep up on where they’ll be next you can find the dirty blues news at

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